How not to debate

Posted By Horizon Staff October 31st, 2012 in Opinions & Editorials : 19 COMMENTS

Michael DeMichillie | Op/Ed Editor

This is my opinion, and not necessarily that of the Horizon.

A week later, I am still wondering: “Why is Seth Gruber electing to stage his protests here?” This is a conservative, evangelical campus, where the usual brand of Christianity takes a pro-life political orientation as creed. What did Gruber hope to accomplish by displaying this material on campus? Perhaps, if we viewed the world through particularly rose-colored glasses, we might say he intended to draw attention to an issue so that he could convince them in a way  that appeals to their brains  instead of assaulting their emotions.

But that would be both foolish and irresponsible.

This irresponsibility comes disguised with the label of “grace towards our brother in Christ,” but it grants license to Gruber’s behavior and his aims. Gruber did not protest to rationally convince others that abortion is wrong.

The only rational aim for his protest was to make it impossible to hold pro-choice views on this campus. Gruber sought to link every pro-choice person on-campus to the pictures he displayed. It is a good thing that the WCSA prohibited Gruber from bringing the whole “Genocide Awareness Project” circus on campus, since it overtly and maliciously describes anyone who endorses any abortion in any circumstance as a Nazi.

Gruber has not responded publicly to the last week’s editorial, but since he returned this week, I consider it safe to assume that Gruber has allowed the criticism to give him some sense of vindication, as if the Horizon and anyone else who dared criticize him were secretly working for the forces of darkness. Since Gruber compares himself to a modern-day William Wilberforce battling slavery or Dietrich Bonhoeffer battling Nazism, this interpretation of his actions seems accurate.

These displays rely upon this argument and intimidation to pre-empt counter-argument, but it is still important to vocally oppose these displays.

The argument for displaying these signs rests on the assertion that abortion is a social evil that requires drastic action to cure. Gruber himself endorses the comparison between abortion and genocide with the “Genocide Awareness Project.” Apparently, pro-choice people secretly want to eliminate babies as a national group.

The fact that the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and injustice against any group, has said that comparisons between abortion and the Holocaust are “deeply offensive and have no place in civil political discourse” apparently means little.

The editorial board spoke out last week to take the side of civil discourse.

I am a member of that board. As the editor of the Opinions and Editorials pages, my highest commitment is to the maintenance of civil discourse on this campus. As long as my co-editor and I hold this position, this page will be the ally of civil discourse and the opponent of those who choose to ostracize and demean those who disagree with them rather than engage and debate. If you want a name to blame for that, take mine.

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